film industry promotes unity in Lanka
By Stanley Samarasinghe
South Indian film actress R. Radhikaa Sarath Kumar, who has
acted in more than 300 films, is married to the President of the
South Indian Film Artistes’ Guild.
Radhikaa is the daughter of very famous villain in South Indian
films, M.R. Radha, who married a Sinhalese girl from Vennappuwa;
Geetha Fernando, Radikaa’s mother. Radhikaa owns Radaan
Mediaworks Company in Chennai.
She was educated in Sri Lanka, at the Holy Family Convent in
Bambalapitiya. The Nation had a brief conversation with the
actress to learn first hand information on the recently held
protest campaign in Chennai, demanding for the active
involvement of the Indian Central Government in solving the
ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.
Following are excerpts:
Q: What are your sources of information regarding the Tamil
people in Sri Lanka and the LTTE, and do you think that
information you receive are reliable?
A: We receive a lot of information from the Government of
Sri Lanka and Tamil Members of Parliament.
Q: What are your views about the ongoing ethnic conflict in
A: My life as a student was spent in Sri Lanka as I was
educated at the Holy Family Convent. I was living among
Sinhalese and Tamils during that period. I know the major
problems faced by the Tamil people. Language problem was their
major problem. The LTTE and the Sri Lanka Government should
solve this problem through negotiation. The Government of India
and Tamil politicians too must take part in these negotiations.
Q: Do you consider the LTTE as a genuine liberal organisation?
A: That is a very difficult question for me to answer; at
the inception, the LTTE was a good organisation. But later on,
it took to violence. You cannot solve any problem through
violence. I believe that only through peaceful negotiations you
can solve problems. So, the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka
must commence negotiations. Violence only brings disaster to
Q: The LTTE killed TULF leaders such as Amirthalingam, Neelan
Thiruchelvam Yogeshwaran Silvasithaparam and many others who
fought for the rights of Sri Lankan Tamils, democratically. They
abduct and recruit children for war. What is your comment on
A: I don’t believe in violence. Once again, I must say that
violence brings disaster to the society and makes the situation
worst. I am not in a position to say who is right and who is
wrong. We know that as a result of this war, a large number of
Tamil people are suffering. They are internally displaced and
the life is miserable for them. It is only LTTE Leader
Velupillai Prabhakaran who could answer to the question why the
LTTE killed their TULF leaders.
Q: Recently, in Chennai, South Indian film stars launched a
protest. What was the purpose behind that endeavour?
A: It was done purely on humanitarian grounds. As far as I
am concerned, I participated in that protest to bring relief to
the innocent Tamil people. I never intend to support the LTTE. I
believe that others also participated with the same view. But
there were some extremists who participated in that protest too.
Q: The LTTE assassinated former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv
Gandhi. What is your comment on this?
A: Prabhakaran himself admitted that it was a historical
blunder that he made.
Q: What are your views on the Sinhala-Tamil unity in Sri Lanka?
A: As a person, who has studied in Sri Lanka, I believe
Sinhala and Tamil unity is very essential to Sri Lanka. Sri
Lanka is a multi-ethnic country. Sinhalese, as the majority
ethnic group, must live peacefully with the other two ethnic
groups recognising equal rights of others. They must live in a
manner that would help preserve the national unity.
Q: Do you, as a Tamil, promote any campaign to separate Tamil
Nadu from India?
A: Never. I like to introduce myself as an Indian rather
than a Tamil. I prefer to be Indian with all other ethnic groups
in India. I consider Sri Lankans as very good friends. During my
12 years stay in Sri Lanka, I enjoyed their association.
Q: Do you have any proposals to solve the ethnic conflict in Sri
A: I cannot suggest any proposals, but Sri Lanka Government
and the LTTE must solve this problem through negotiations
without any delay, because Sinhala and Tamil people are
suffering due to this war.